The month of July sees a lot of Independence Day special event stations as well as the 13 Colonies Special Event (to be honest, it’s almost become more of a contest than a special event), but there are three History related amateur radio special event stations this July that stand out. The first commemorates the Battle of Gettysburg, the largest and probably most well-known battle of the American Civil war. It’s important that we remember the Civil War as an example of what happens when we are unable to govern ourselves and take up arms against each other as a result. The second commemorates the Whiskey Rebellion, one of the first tests of our new government following the American Revolution. Perhaps there was something to learn from the Whiskey Rebellion that both of our political parties overlooked in the years prior to the 2016 Presidential election. The third special event station commemorates the Maryland Slave Rebellion in 1845. The slave rebellion can remind us that even though our country was founded on the concept that “…all men are created equal…” some have always been more equal than others and that not all of us have been free. Independence Day is a time to celebrate our independence and our freedoms but we should also use it, particularly this year, to reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re going, what our Country has been, and what we want it to be.
Bob Hess, WO4L, is operating special event station W1G through 10 July 2018 in remembrance of the Battle of Gettysburg. The Battle of Gettysburg took place from 1 July 1863 to 3 July 1863 around the town of Gettysburg, PA and was not only the largest battle of the Civil War but the largest battle to have occurred in North America. On the first day of the battle, Union cavalry under General John Buford and infantry under General John Reynolds held the line against Confederate forces under General A.P. Hill, allowing Union forces to hold advantageous positions over the Confederates. Day two of the battle was long and bloody; throughout the day more units of the Union Army of the Potomac and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia arrived on the field and were fed into the battle. On Day 3, the Confederates suffered from General Robert E. Lee’s overconfidence and aggressiveness. Over half of the troops he sent against strong Union lines on Cemetery Ridge didn’t return; it was a waste of perfectly good infantry. Both sides took heavy casualties, over 23,000 for the Union and over 28,000 for the Confederates; but the Confederates lost more percentage wise and most importantly lost too many experienced leaders. Along with the surrender of Vicksburg on 4 July 1863, Gettysburg proved to be a turning point in the Civil War. W1G will be active on or around 18.158, 14.288, 7.227, and 3.830. QSL via Robert J Hess, WO4L, 74 Curtis Dr, East Berlin, PA 17316.
From 3 July to 15 July 2018, Washington Amateur Communications in Washington, PA will be operating special event station W3R commemorating the Whiskey Rebellion. The Whiskey Rebellion lasted from 1791 to 1794 in response to a tax on whiskey instituted by the US Government. Suggested by Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, President George Washington was assured by local officials in Pennsylvania and Virginia that the tax wouldn’t meet much opposition so Washington, in turn, assured Congress that it wouldn’t be a problem. Unfortunately, it seems that those local officials didn’t know or weren’t concerned with the feelings of the western population of their states, because when the tax went into effect it was heavily opposed in the west. Tax officials were met with harassment, resistance, and violence. Hamilton called for troops to be sent in to enforce the tax, but Washington decided to try peace envoys first. The peace initiative failed, so Washington sent in troops under his leadership. As he led 13,000 militia into western Pennsylvania to put down the rebellion, the rebels melted away and only around twenty arrests were made. Most of those arrested were acquitted and those found guilty were pardoned by Washington. Although the Whiskey Tax eventually proved impossible to enforce and was repealed by Congress in 1802, the response to the Whiskey Rebellion was a critical test to the new United States Government. Washinton’s handling of the rebellion proved that the Federal Government could and would put down violent resistance to federal laws. One wonders if the government’s overlooking of the feelings and views of the western citizens before the Whiskey Rebellion was repeated in the overlooking in recent years of the working class that helped bring about the election of President Trump? W3R will be operating on or around 50.300, 18.160, 14.270, and 7.275. QSL for a certificate via William Steffey, Radio Hill, Bells Lake Rd, Prosperity, PA 15329.
On 7 July 2018, the Expatriate Marylanders Radio Club will be operating special event station N3APS to commemorate the Maryland Slave Rebellion of 7-8 July 1845. On 7 July 1845, a group of slaves from Charles County Maryland began moving by road in an attempt to reach freedom in Pennsylvania, approximately 110 miles away. As other slaves along the way joined in, the group became impossible not to notice and were eventually intercepted by a group known as the Montgomery Volunteers. The leaders of the slave group, armed only with a pistol, swords, clubs, and farm implements, decided to give battle. Outgunned, it wasn’t much of a battle, with most of the slaves being captured, some killed, and a few escaping. The Slave Rebellion struck fear into the citizens of the surrounding area, resulting in further restrictions on slaves, “Committees of Vigilance,” and more volunteers for organizations like the Montgomery Volunteers. N3APS will be operating on or near 50.150, 28.325, 14.325, and 7.290. QSL via Expatriate Marylanders Radio Club, P.O. Box 617, Orinda, CA 94563.